The misinformed marketer may think of inbound marketing as only being effective at filling the top of the funnel. The reality, however, is that inbound marketing can help with all areas of the marketing funnel, including the very bottom.
According to our 2014 inbound ROI study, 69% of HubSpot customers saw an increase in sales revenue after implementing our inbound software. And 74% of these customers experienced this revenue increase within 7 months.
Clearly, inbound marketing is about more than mastering the top of the funnel. And it's about more than writing blog posts and setting up landing pages and generating leads. To be an effective inbound marketer, you also need to be able to nurture those leads and help your sales team close them into customers, too.
Below, I've highlighted some common misconceptions that people have about the "Close" phase of the inbound methodology. More specifically, I'll attempt to debunk inbound marketing myths as they pertain to the various channels and tactics marketers can use to help close leads into customers.
Email is dead. Or it’s dying. Or it’s very sick. [BUSTED]
These "[Fill-in-the-Marketing-Tactic] Is Dead" headlines make the rounds every so often. And they usually don't end up holding any water.
This is definitely the case with the "email is dead" argument.
For starters, email is still an incredibly popular medium amongst marketers (see the below chart). But perhaps more importantly, email still works. It still brings in business. According to a 2013 study from the Direct Marketing Association, 66% of consumers have made an online purchase as a result of a marketing email.
Marketing automation is impossible to master. [BUSTED]
Where there's a will, there's a way.
So here's some motivation: According to Gartner Research, businesses that use marketing automation see a 10% (or more) increase in revenue within 6 to 9 months of implementing it.
But motivation alone won't help you master marketing automation. With the right plan and software in place, you can easily build automated lead nurturing campaigns that are based around your buyer personas and goals.
Marketing automation is only for email. [BUSTED]
While we often associate marketing automation with email, the reality is that you can apply automation to many different marketing activities.
With HubSpot's marketing automation tool, for example, in addition to automating lead nurturing emails, you can automate sending internal notifications, scoring leads, and even personalizing the content on your website's pages for different viewers. You can also use marketing automation on social by creating targeted lists of important contacts to monitor on social media and setting up email alerts for when one of those contacts mentions you (or a specified keyword) on Twitter.
But in terms of effectiveness, using dynamic or "smart" content to personalize email -- as well as landing pages, homepages, and blog CTAs -- is clearly a good move (provided you're not being creepy, of course). For example, according to our Science of Email Marketing Report, including the first names of recipients in marketing emails increased clickthrough rates from 5.8% to 7%.
It’s impossible to know when leads are ready to become customers. [BUSTED]
Understanding who's ready to buy -- and when -- requires incredible attention to detail. But it can be done!
For example, if you knew that a week ago a lead downloaded your new product guide, and that two days ago that same lead was checking out your pricing page, and that yesterday, at 11:27 a.m., that same lead opened that nurturing email you sent them, you could make a convincing argument that a purchase decision was near.
Of course, to get these types of insights, you need a tool that integrates with your contacts database, website, and email client, and can send real-time notifications to you based on the actions you want to monitor. Good news! We have one of those (and it's free).